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Top polo pros in action this weekend

Dubai: Some of the world’s top professional players will display their skills when the tenth edition of the Julius Baer Beach Polo Cup kicks off at Skydive Dubai on Friday.

Being held for the first time as a night event, this year’s competition has four teams in action led by defending champions and hosts Julius Baer, with Rashid Al Habtoor as their patron.

Joining the patron will be his son Khalaf Al Habtoor, who plays off a zero handicap, along with six-handicapper and Argentinean professional Juan Cruz Guevara.

Led by younger brother Mohammad Al Habtoor, the Vista Jet Bombardier team are sure to be among the challengers to the crown this year. He will be joined by his son Habtoor Al Habtoor and another professional from Argentina, Guillermo Cuitino, who also plays off a six handicap.

Chocolate makers Lindt, one of the sponsors of the competition, also have a team led by Swiss Piero Dillier, who has the rare distinction of winning the famed World Cup Snow St Moritz on four occasions.

Dillier will be joined by fellow Swiss zero-handicap player Dr Thomas M. Rinderknecht and six-handicapper Argentinean pro, Lucas Labat.

Saeed Bin Drai’s Maradiva team, losing finalists last year, will be the fourth team in the competition, for which the line-up has not been announced.

“On paper all four teams look evenly balanced, and that can only mean some intense beach polo action on the field,” Tournament Director Gabriella Katiela said.

“Once again we can expect a very high level of polo and ultimately it will be the best team that will win,” she added.

Tickets have been priced at Dh50 for one day and Dh75 for both days. Guests will start arriving from 4.30pm and the first match will take place at 6pm followed by the second one at 7.30pm. The winners of the two matches will feature in the final on Saturday.